Trafford MV’s MacPherson Park was the scene of a thrilling game of rugby on Saturday afternoon that kept the watching spectators on their toes until the very last kick of the game.
Having lost 4 from 4 of their opening fixtures MV were desperate to pick up League points, especially after good performances in part against Aspatria and De La Salle, to ease their woes at the foot of the North Lancs / Cumbria League.Heavy downpours prior to kick off left a greasy pitch which was soon evident with ball slipping from hands on a number of occasions as players got to grips with conditions.
MV opened brightly and early pressure made deep inroads which brought a penalty within easy range of the Oldham uprights which Pat Eccles slotted for a 3-0 initiative to MV.
Oldham retaliated almost immediately as they linked good forward and back play together to score a good try which they converted to take the lead 3-7. MV’s competitive edge was obvious as they forced a second penalty for offside, Eccles again making the kick look easy 6-7.
As both sides exchanged good stages of play, often spoiled by spilled ball partly due to conditions, there was very little between the sides although Oldham looked to be directing their efforts a little better than MV.
The visiting side struck again with half time approaching as their forwards capped a series of good drives with a tight forward try. The conversion was missed and a half time lead of 6-12 was settled upon.
With the absence of red carded Andy Quigley, banned for 2 games, and Moore and Crabb MV seemed to lack a bit of punch in the tackle and going forward however this was an opportunity for other players to step up and lay a claim.
Davenport in the centre definitely has a role to play and Luke Cox and Chris Ward in the pack are playing their part too. However Oldham took the plaudits from the kick off and a well taken ball led to a very early second half score as MV slipped off Oldham’s attacking players for a somewhat simple score to extend their lead to 6-19 with the conversion.
The teams were well matched for a large part of the half and time looked to be running out for MV when Eccles slipped a neat grubber kick through the oncoming defence which popped up for in form winger James Matthie to collect at full pace and sprint in and score behind the posts. The conversion was a formality for Eccles 13-9 with 5 mins to go.
With nothing to lose MV threw everything they had at Oldham’s defence. Attack after attack was halted by determined tackling and the on looking crowd were anticipating yet another defeat. However it was that man again,
James Matthie, that brought smiles to the faces. With yet another powerful run he managed to break through a tackle and with a glimpse of the line he used his pace and power to squeeze over the line wide out on the right-wing leaving Pat Eccles under no pressure at 18-19 to land the conversion.
The crowd was silenced as Eccles placed the ball and eased into his run up, the wells truck kick eased its way in from a good distance and an acute angle for a mighty 2 points which ensured MV’s first victory of the 2017/18 campaign.
Players and spectators leapt in delight and relief as the referees whistle blew 20-19. Not a huge margin but a hugely important result for MV who managed to climb off the bottom of the table above Hawcoat Park who MV welcome on Oct 21st.
This weekend MV travel to Littleborough who have been close rivals for a number of years. Both teams will enjoy renewing old rivalries.
(By Wilf Dooley)
(Image: Trafford MV’s James Matthie)